Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Lando di Durazzo
A streetwise merchant who patronises the Italian Grimaldi family; he specialises in trading lumber from Dalmatia for Venetian glass, and took the 4th Crusade in hopes of opening new trade channels.
A wealthy, unassuming young Italian merchant with a pale, boyish face, mirthful brown eyes and dark brown, wavy hair. His clean-shaven face and youthful good looks conspire to give him a mischievous, welcoming and inoffensive air. A golden key on a chain rests prominently on his chest. He wears fine Venetian silks in the latest fashions, and his knife looks far more ornamental than functional.
As a Tzimisce abiding in Venice, Lando is a curious novelty in the courts of the Lasombra and Cappadocian merchant princes who rule the nights in Veneto. Since AD 1169, he has used his Dalmatian and Croatian contacts to import lumber to the hungry ship-building and glassblowing trades of La Serenissima while exporting glass and cloth in turn. In addition to these interests, he has a lucrative sideline offering his services as a “mystical physic” to the merchant nobility of his chosen home. Inveigling his considerable skill with Vicissitude by disguising its use as various health regimes, alchemical processes and mystical arts, he has ensnared dozens of women (and not a few men) with the promise of longevity. Naturally, this unnatural process is costly and temporary, ensuring a constant revenue stream for the Tzimisce through their subscription to his services.
In addition to his own ship, La Fenice (The Phoenix), Lando operates out of a villa owned by the Genoese Grimaldi family of merchants, making use of their capital and vitae in return for his undead patronage. They serve as his herd and his retainers, apparently readily offering up their innocence in return for the promise of immortality. He makes great use of their contacts on top of his own, and excels at mobilising their farther flung assets without their apparent knowledge. In this capacity, he managed to divert six of the family’s ships as transports for the Fourth Crusade, thus earning himself a minor but influential position within the Venetian coterie known as la Fratellanza Serene (the Serene Brotherhood).
Originally hailing from Genoese trader stock based in the port city of Durazzo, Lando has operated out of a number of cities along the Adriatic Coast in his time. In Venice he is a noted rogue, much admired for his devious wit at Elysium and for his skill at building trade networks both legitimate and illegitimate. His late sire and mentor, Paul of Ancona (once known as Mantarci), was of a similar disposition — based out of the Dalmatian port of Zara, he was a noted descendant and agent of the failed voivode known as Visya, tasked with using his knowledge of matters mercantile to funnel information and silver to his master in Transylvania. He served in this capacity for more than 70 years, using Lando and several other progeny to manage his separate networks. Like Paul himself, upon their Embrace all of his childer were required to take the Blood Oath to Visya, so that the distant voivode could be sure of their loyalty. Paul went to the Final Death along with his prince, Cosimo Lucretia in the Zarayan uprising of AD 1186 which saw the city temporarily fall under the control of the Hungarian king. Since the fall of Zara to the Fourth Crusade in AD 1202, Lando has made no secret of the fact that he now considers his sire avenged. Any furthers profits are simply “a happy recompense” should the crusade be a success.
Lando does not consider himself an enemy of the Concord, even though his membership in the Serene Brotherhood leaves them at cross-purposes. Indeed, when Lando met Veceslav Basarab shortly after the coterie arrived in Venice, he graciously offered his villa to the Concord for the extent of their stay. Unfortunately, this did not include the unwarranted use of his herd, and Lando was furious to discover that Sir Gunthar was feeding on them without his permission. Despite his rabid indignation, when the Gangrel (belatedly) sought his forgiveness, the Tzimisce showed his generous nature and quickly forgave him, appearing to forget the matter for the remainder of their limited association.
As the Cainite Crusade and the Families of Constantinople have circled closer and closer to conflict, Lando and his business partner Remigio del Nero have drawn closer and closer to the side of Salvatore Varagine and Carmine Giovanni, choosing to make use of the large numbers of bodyguards with which the leaders of the Serene Brotherhood surround themselves. He chooses to maintain cordial, if distant, relations with Veceslav Basarab, but has little to do with the rest of the Concord.
Lineage: Childe of Paulo d’Ancona aka Mantarci (d), Childe of Targuilu (d), Childe of Andras (d), Childe of Sambriak (d), Childe of Visya; further lineage is unknown but Lando is thought to consider himself of the 10th generation. Most of Lando’s bloodline have been destroyed either protecting Visya’s assets against rival voivodes or through the constant invasions of the Balkans and Dalmatia throughout the 11th and 12th centuries.